Ever been through a process of reinvention?
I have been thinking a lot about this lately. After completing a PhD at the University of Sydney six years ago I was tired. I had done this with three kids, several house moves, a year off studies to work full time, and my hubby being a student for much of it also. I had been trying to be superwoman and it had been tough. I have to say my house was rather messy during this time and we lived nowhere near extended family either. The kids went to childcare sparingly as I wanted to see as much of them as I could whilst they were growing up.
I needed a rest ! When I say a rest, I mean some time to be with family and in a way myself. Luckily my dear partner got a regular job as a teacher, and I was able to take a break from studies and paid employment. It was like taking a deep breath to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
We moved to the country in the midst of all this – and my time of reinvention was punctuated by being in a town with few paid opportunities for a tertiary trained teacher, and limited choices in employment. I was probably ready to do paid work around three years ago but it’s taken a while to realise what sort.
I have come to know that the paths open to me in the country lie in business, retraining to be a highschool teacher or even arts counsellor, making it as a writer/freelancer. There is one other option and that is to leave for a university town and return to the tertiary sector.
I stand at a cross roads, with the experience of having been through a cyclone, coordinating community writing projects and on the verge of doing my first solo book and photography projects.
I am pretty certain I don’t want to teach highschool or primary, although I don’t mind guest spots to come and work with youth mentoring particularly in creative things.
Sometimes people don’t understand I can’t volunteer anymore, but need to build a future for my family – and move into regular paid work and business. I may even do both. When I am older and more established or if I make it big time I can give back more. This is the prime of life to be earning and building something to retire from paid employment later. As I move away from the voluntary sphere I hope people understand that does not lessen my love for community.
How long have women struggled to have access to the freedom and independance of paid work?
Yet, the work, homelife, spiritual balance has been crucial to my well being. I don’t regret my time out to know my family and myself. In that crucial time I have not stopped contributing to my community and my family. I have been the writing stay at home mum who loves to take photographs everywhere. Whilst some laugh at me, even ask what on earth are you doing, I know privately that my command of my camera has improved and that I love it and will always take pictures now. I can’t imagine not working at the art of photography.
I have also – done three community writing projects, mentored kids at camps, given workshops, tutored, been involved in my kids schools and lives and learnt heaps about myself and others. I say this because I know many other so called stay at home mums, like myself who don’t stay at home at all. We are based at home but we actively contribute to the community and our families.
I have been both supermum and stay at home Mum and somewhere at the end of all of the being wife and mother I am June who loves to write, take photographs and make digital arts. I recognise that I am so privileged to have a chance to get to know myself and others in my six years of so called slowing down (:
I hope the world will accept me for who I am and what I can offer and I am glad to be finding my way with the help of other bloggers and through the opportuntiies writing has offered me.
The time of reinvention is here! It is both exhilirating and scary, as my children move out into the world, so does their Mum. How many other Mums and people out there are going through this journey?
Would love to hear from you!
(c) June Perkins